Why is March National Women’s History Month?

Learning the origins of this historic day, and how you can celebrate all year.


Photo Courtesy: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing

By Millie Benkert, Co-Assistant Editor

While Women’s History month was celebrated worldwide in March, the importance of recognizing the strides women have made towards independence is an occasion that deserves to be acknowledged every day. Women’s History Month is an annual declared month and highlights the contributions that women have made in history and to society. It is celebrated in March in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and  Canada in October.

Women’s history month traces all the way back to 1911 when the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States. In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California made this day more prominent by participating in a Women’s History Week event. The following year, a fifteen-day conference was held at Sarah Lawrence College, chaired by historied Gerda Lerner, and was co-sponsored by the Women’s Action Alliance. In 1980, Jimmy Carter issued an official presidential proclamation which declared the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week.

This groundbreaking proclamation stated, “As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, ‘Women’s History is Women’s Right.’ It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision. I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2–8, 1980.” President Carter acknowledged the struggles of those who fought for equality- leaders like Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, and Harriet Tubman. After being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project in 1987, Congress passed an act declaring the entire month of March as Women’s History Month.

On March 27th, Better Days, and the Salt Lake City Council Chamber and Atrium presented a Women’s History Month Celebration. Mayor Ben McAdams read the Women’s History Month Proclamation. This event was held in order to celebrate Utah’s role in securing voting rights and the rich legacy in securing female leadership in Utah. All over the US, states participated in similar events recognizing the huge strides women have made through history.

If you missed Women’s History Month, or feel like every month should be women’s month, there are many ways that you can celebrate this day without being cliche.

Spend time with your mother, sister, or another woman in your family that inspires you. These are possibly the women that gave birth to you, raised you, and helped you become who you are today. You will be surprised how much spending time will mean to these women, and also how much you can learn from them. A second way to celebrate women is to give back to women. Round up some friends and do a spring cleaning of your closets. This slightly used clothing and accessories can be donated to women’s shelters all around Utah. In addition to giving back to women, also support women! Visit a woman run art gallery or bakery- these women entrepreneurs are easy to find online.

Lastly, in order to celebrate other women, you must first be able to celebrate yourself. Set a goal or a plan for something you have always wanted to do, and accomplish it. The more difficult it seems to you, the better it will feel when you have completed it. Let triumph be your personal gift to women’s history. Celebrating women’s history and their accomplishments does not have to be a grand gesture or giant event, we can do it every day.